This is our mission:
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses nonviolent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal
is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity.
How did Greenpeace get started?
In 1971, motivated by
their vision of a green and peaceful world, a small team of activists
set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat.
The founders of Greenpeace believed a few individuals could make a
difference. Their mission was to "bear witness" to the USA's
underground nuclear testing at Amchitka in one of the world's most
A tiny island off the West Coast of Alaska, Amchitka was the last
refuge for 3000 endangered sea otters, and home to bald eagles,
peregrine falcons and other wildlife.
Even though their old boat, the Phyllis Cormack, was intercepted
before she got to Amchitka, the journey sparked a flurry of public
interest. The US still detonated their bomb, but the voice of reason
had been heard.
Nuclear testing on Amchitka ended that same year, and the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.
Today, Greenpeace is a global organisation that gives priority to
campaigns that can be addressed on a global scale. Based in Amsterdam,
Greenpeace has 2.8 million supporters worldwide, and national/regional
offices in 41 countries.
You can find out more about our history, at our 30th Anniversary page.
If you want to read more, there are
several good books about Greenpeace: "The Warriors of the Rainbow" by
Robert Hunter, "Journey into the Bomb" by David McTaggart, and "The
Greenpeace Story" by John May and Michael Brown. They can often be
found at used book and auction sites such as Ebay , Amazon and Powells.
Who founded Greenpeace?
There's an old joke around the organisation that in any bar in
Vancouver, Canada, you can find at least one person who claims to have
In truth, many talented folks
contributed to the creation of Greenpeace. Bill Darnell coined the name
when someone flashed him a peace sign and he said "let's make that a
green peace!" Bob Hunter created the concept of the "Media Mind Bomb" -
reaching the public consciousness through dramatic, camera-ready
opposition to environmental crimes. Jim Bohlen, Paul Cote, and Irving Stowe were the founders of the "Don't Make a Wave
Committee," which organised the first Greenpeace action: a voyage to Amchitka Island in the Aleutians to try to stop
a nuclear weapons test. David McTaggart convinced a
half dozen loosely connected early groups to put aside their
differences and join in a single worldwide organisation, creating
Greenpeace International in 1979. Our main website contains lots more information about the founders of Greenpeace and our history and victories.
Where does the name Rainbow Warrior come from?
Bob Hunter, one of the founders of Greenpeace, tells a story in his book,
Warriors of the Rainbow, about how this legend crossed his path.
On the first voyage of a Greenpeace ship, the Phyllis Cormack, Bob
had taken on board a small book of Indian myths and legends that
contained some striking prophesies. The book itself had been given him
by an old wandering native American who had told him the book would
"change his life" -- something which prompted a bit of cynicism in the
Canadian journalist, who tossed the book into a box and forgot about
it. But he stocked the Phyllis Cormack with reading material for the
voyage, and one stormy evening he said the book literally jumped off
the shelf into his hands, and he read it.
A chapter that particularly inspired Hunter related a story an old
Cree Indian woman, 'Eyes of Fire' told to her great grandson. Just as
they were being overthrown, The Cree Indian people foresaw a time when
the white man's materialistic ways would strip the earth of its
resources, but just before it was too late the Great Spirit of the
Indians would return to resurrect the braves and teach the white man
reverence for the earth. They would become known as the Warriors of the
The story circulated in Greenpeace for
many years, and in 1978 our first ship, a rusting North Sea Trawler
named the "Sir William Hardy" was rechristened "Rainbow Warrior."
How many supporters does Greenpeace have?
As of January,
2007, 2.9 million had taken out or renewed their financial membership
within the last 18 months. Our financial supporters are the people who
keep our ships on the oceans and our campaigners in the field. There
are also millions of people around the world who take action with us
every day as online activists or local groups, or as volunteers.
Where does Greenpeace get its funding from?
To maintain absolute independence Greenpeace does not accept money from
companies, governments or political parties. We're serious about that,
and we screen for and actually send checks back when they're drawn on a
corporate account. We depend on the donations of our supporters to
carry on our nonviolent campaigns to protect the environment.
Our books are audited every year, in every office around the world, and we publish our Annual Report on the web every year so you can see exactly how much money we're given and how it gets spent.
Where can I find the address of the Greenpeace office in my country?
There's a full list of countries where we have offices at our Worldwide Offices page.
If there's no office in your country, you can write to
Why is there no Greenpeace office in my country?
It is just not possible for Greenpeace to have an office everywhere. We
receive many requests every day to open offices all over the world.
Like any other organisation Greenpeace has to work within a budget and
we have to make choices about what we do. Our campaign work is targeted
against the greatest threats to the global environment.
You can help us in many ways even if there's no office in your country. Visit Get Involved! page to learn more about what you can do every day to help Greenpeace win campaigns for the environment.
I want to open a Greenpeace office. I want to represent Greenpeace in my country. What do I do?
Opening a new office, or appointing a representative in a country in
which we do not have an office, is an organisation-wide decision which
has to be agreed upon by our International Board and approved by our
international Annual General Meeting. Greenpeace does not adopt,
incorporate or otherwise subsume existing organisations into its
structure. Like every organisation, we have to work within our budget,
and due to limited financial and human resources, we have to be
selective in our decisions as to where to open new offices. Development
or expansion is also subject to certain essential campaign criteria. We
will only open a new office if this is in line with the strategic
priorities of the organisation. Greenpeace has recently established two
offices in Asia (in India and in Thailand). We are not
planning to open any further new offices in the near future.
The name "Greenpeace" is an internationally registered trademark
belonging to Stichting Greenpeace Council in the Netherlands, and
therefore use of the name requires permission. Once a decision has been
taken to open a new office, Greenpeace International enters into a
licensing agreement with the new office, allowing that office to use
the name Greenpeace. Use of this name is conditional upon fulfilling a
whole range of obligations towards the international organisation.
We hope that you will not find this
discouraging, and that you and/or your organisation will continue in
its aims to explore environmental issues further. You can help
Greenpeace in many ways - by volunteering your time or services to an
existing Greenpeace office, or by getting involved as an online activist or joining our forum. You'd be surprised how much help we can use, even when an office isn't nearby.
How is Greenpeace organised? Who runs Greenpeace?
The Greenpeace organisation consists of Greenpeace International
(Stichting Greenpeace Council) in Amsterdam and Greenpeace offices
around the world. Greenpeace currently has a presence in 41 countries.
Greenpeace national or regional offices are licensed to use the name
Greenpeace. Each office is governed by a board which appoints a
representative (called a trustee).
Trustees meet once a year to agree on the long-term strategy of the
organisation, to make necessary changes to governance structure, to set
a ceiling on spending for Greenpeace International's budget and to
elect the International Board of four members and a chairperson.
Greenpeace International monitors the organisational development of
Greenpeace offices, oversees the development and maintenance of our
fleet of ships, coordinates planning and implemenation of our global
campaigns, and monitors compliance with core policies.
The International Board approves the annual budget of Greenpeace
International and its audited accounts. It also appoints and supervises
the International Executive Director who, together with senior
managers, and consulting widely with national office staff, leads the
Greenpeace does not solicit or accept funding from governments,
corporations or political parties. Greenpeace neither seeks nor accepts
donations which could compromise its independence, aims, objectives or
integrity. Greenpeace relies on the voluntary donations of individual
supporters, and on grant support from foundations.
Greenpeace is committed to the principles of non-violence, political
independence and internationalism. In exposing threats to the
environment and in working to find solutions, Greenpeace has no
permanent allies or enemies.
To find out more about our Board and how Greenpeace makes decisions, visit our "How is Greenpeace Structured" page.